23 July 2007

Hermione frowned at An Encyclopedia of Counter-Jinxes and put it on the 'no' pile beside her leather armchair in Flourish and Blotts. Harry would have no use for it—but then, what were they going to get him for his birthday? Perhaps she ought to listen to Ron and just go to Quality Quidditch Supplies. She sighed and picked up the next book.

"Mumma," Rose said. Hermione looked up from the book in her hand at her thirteen-month-old, whom she was holding on what remained of her lap. "Mumma," Rose said rapturously, cuddling against Hermione's very large belly. The baby was due in early October.

"Hi, baby," said Hermione, rubbing Rose's back. "Who's Mummy's girl?"

"Mumma!" Rose said happily, clinging to her.

Ron appeared at the far end of the row of bookshelves, chuckling. "There you are," he said. He took Rose, who promptly attached herself to him and beamed at Hermione. "I can't leave you alone in here for a minute," he said, and Hermione grinned, picking up another book and frowning at the back as she rubbed her belly.

"Look what I found you, Rosie," Ron said, holding up a children's book from the small collection at the back of Flourish and Blotts. He opened it up to a picture of a large, pink unicorn, and Rose gasped, holding both hands over her mouth as a cloud of silver and pink stars erupted out of the page.

Hermione laughed, adding a book to her pile of personal selections. "You like that, Rosie?" she asked, but Rose did not respond. She was busy trying to catch the stars floating through the air. Hermione shook her head. "I think you were right," she said, and Ron raised his eyebrows.

"Do mine ears deceive me?" he asked, and Hermione rolled her eyes, awkwardly heaving herself to her feet and picking up the three books she'd chosen for herself—she hadn't found a single good book for Harry.

"I think we'll have better luck getting him something at Quality Quidditch Supplies," she said delicately. She straightened up, making a face. "Merlin's beard—oof—come on, let's go." Ron looked only slightly smug as he closed Rose's book and held out his hand for the others Hermione had picked out. She took Rose, who was looking confusedly all around for the sparkly stars, which had vanished.

"Ow," Hermione said, rubbing her back.

"All right?" Ron asked as they walked to the desk.

"Just my back, I'm fine," Hermione assured him, patting her belly.

"Book," Rosie said to her mother, looking horrified that she and her prize had been separated. Hermione smiled.

"Be patient, baby," Hermione said, rubbing her lower back again. "We'll see it in a minute. Be patient?"

Rose frowned momentarily, her large brown eyes concerned, before she nodded. Ron, meanwhile, had paid the cashier, and they left Flourish and Blotts, heading down Diagon Alley towards the Quidditch shop.

"Book, book, book," Rose babbled, reaching desperately for the bag swinging from Ron's hand. Hermione winced. "Ah, Ron," she said, putting a hand to her back as Rose squirmed in her arms. She stopped walking. "Here, I'll trade you the baby for the books."

"Ron! Mr. Weasley!"

"Mrs. Weasley!"


"Oh, Merlin's pants," Ron groaned, and he and Hermione turned at the same time to see a crowd of reporters and photographers hurrying towards them. Ron handed Rose back to Hermione, attempting to block them both. "We're not talking to anyone today," he called, and Hermione could see his ears growing red. "We're just having an outing."

"Any word on what the Chosen One's doing for his twenty-seventh birthday?" asked a tiny blonde witch brandishing a Quick-Quotes Quill.

"When's the baby due?" shouted a loud man as his photographer snapped a picture, sending a puff of acrid purple smoke into the air.

"Boy or girl, Hermione?"

"Have you really just had a promotion, Ron?"

Hermione sighed angrily as Rose began to cry, and she tried to soothe her, looking for a way out of the crowd. She and Ron were literally backed up against a wall, and Rose was becoming more and more distressed as people yelled questions.

"How old's the little girl now?" yelled the photographer, trying to snap another picture.

"Ron, is it true you're running for mayor of London?" asked the same tiny blonde witch.

"How the bloody hell do we get rid of them?" Ron groaned over his shoulder to Hermione, glancing all around. They were blocked from the brick wall to the Leaky Cauldron, and too far from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes to get help from George or Angelina. Hermione bit her lip, thinking furiously and trying to calm Rose. Her back gave a pain as Rose twisted in her arms, wailing and trying to hide.

"Hermione, tell us, is it twins?"

Hermione snapped.

"OI!" she bellowed to the cacophony of shouted questions and camera flashes, and the reporters were so startled, some of them froze in the middle of speaking. "Will all of you be quiet this instant?"

Rose continued to cry, and Hermione held onto her tightly. "You're upsetting my family," Hermione said icily. "Now, have the goodness to get out of our way, please, or you might have some real problems meeting your deadlines." And she whipped out her wand, clutching it tightly as she carried Rose through the sea of stunned reporters, Ron in her wake. Not a single camera went off until they had successfully hurried into the Leaky Cauldron.

After begging Hannah and Neville for a room to hide in, Ron and Hermione collapsed into armchairs before the large fireplace in room three. Rose, who was still understandably distressed, snuggled against Hermione, burying her face in her mother's neck.

"You could've given my mother a run for her money with that last bit," Ron said breathlessly. Hermione smiled she gently bounced Rose, speaking soothingly into her ear.

"Where do you think I learned it?" she asked quietly as Rose's snuffles became less and less audible.

"You're okay?" Ron asked, leaning forward and touching her knee.

Hermione nodded. "I understand why they do it," she sighed. "I don't even mind it much when it's just me, but…" she shook her head, holding Rose even closer. "I can't stand it when Rosie's upset."

"You're not kidding," Ron growled angrily, looking at Rose's bright red curls, the only visible part of her, as her face was pressed securely into Hermione's shoulder. He reached up and gently patted her back.

"Mumma," Rose said, squirming away from him, and Hermione straightened up, lifting her away and looking at her tearstained little face. "Mumma, no!" Rose said, trying to squeeze as close to Hermione as she could.

"Oh, baby," said Hermione sympathetically, prizing Rose from her shoulder. "Look, all gone. Just Daddy, see?" Gently, she turned Rosie around to see that only Ron was with them.

Sniffling, but starting to smile, Rose reached out her hands for Ron. "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy," she gibbered as Ron took her, helping her stand on his knees as he beamed up at her. Rose giggled.

Hermione smiled, exhaling in discomfort and adjusting herself in her chair. "I'll pay for it in the Prophet tomorrow," she said, though she couldn't say she was sorry. Her back gave another twinge, and she frowned. She laid both hands on her belly, closing her eyes.

"You two all right?" Ron asked, and Hermione nodded. She took another deep breath and opened her eyes, looking at Ron.

"I don't look like I'm having twins, do I?" she asked, and Ron repressed a snort. "Ron, seriously," Hermione said.

"I—Hermione, of course not," Ron told her, bouncing Rose on his lap. "You look—you look very, very—er—nice," he said, and it was so honest that Hermione laughed.

She shrugged. "Okay," she said, shaking her head. "I'll take nice." She looked down at her belly and sighed.

"Hermione," Ron said, reaching over and touching her arm. "You look great."

Hermione cracked a smile. "Ginny taught you that one?"

"I do not need my sister to teach me what to say to you," Ron said indignantly, as Rose slid down his knees and stood on her wobbly little legs, holding tight to Ron. "Harry taught it to me."

Hermione laughed again and adjusted herself so that she could sit up straight and looked down at Rose. "Rosie, can you tell Daddy he's very silly?" she asked as Rose giggled, looking between her parents with her fingers still in her mouth.

Ron bent and scooped her up, and she shrieked with laughter, waving her arms. "Daddy's not silly, right, Rose?" he asked, holding her high above his head.

"See Daddy!" Rose scolded, though she was still giggling hysterically.

Hermione held up one hand. "I rest my case," she said.

"Ah, just wait, I'll get her some—" he put Rose in his lap and covered her ears, "—ice cream," he mouthed, "And then we'll see whose side she's on."

Hermione shook her head, rolling her eyes. She looked at Rose, who seemed to be completely recovered. She was animatedly telling Ron the story of their adventure as she sat in his lap. She held up a chubby finger, unmistakably impersonating Hermione as she told off the reporters.

"She's good," Ron commented, and Hermione gave him a look.

Rose gave a sudden gasp, looking wide-eyed between her parents and putting both hands over her mouth. "Book!" she said in horror, as though she was certain it couldn't have survived their terrifying encounter.

Hermione laughed. "Now where could she have gotten that flair for the dramatic?" she asked wonderingly. She drew her wand and Summoned Rose's book from the bag they'd dropped near the door.

"Ooo!" Rose squealed, overjoyed to see that it was unharmed.

"Ready, Rosie?" Hermione asked, holding up the book. "One—two—three!"

She opened it to the picture of the unicorn, and pink and silver stars burst into the air, sparkling and glittering, as Rose gave a shriek of laughter and snatched for them.


XD hehehehe So this is for fourmille d'idees' "Comical Quote Couple" challenge. It took a few tries, but I eventually got it done. Ron and Hermione, obviously, and the quote was "All of you be quiet this instant!"

Hope you giggled. I'm obsessed with that baby...XD